Diversity and Inclusion are values critical to Duke University. We are a community of students, faculty and staff of different demographic backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, income level, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. As educators we understand the importance of preparing our students to become members of a global citizenry whose workforce becomes more interconnected and interdependent with each new generation. In Student Affairs, one of our four strategic goals is to provide education in cultural competency so that students gain a consciousness, information and knowledge about world-views and perspectives different from their own. The opportunity to develop what many refer to as cultural fluency enables students to communicate, interact and engage effectively with people different from themselves.
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Dear Duke Families,
As I look out my office window, I have the privilege of seeing our students walking (and rushing) by between classes, meals, meetings and study venues. So many things are apparent on the rare occasion that I get to just pause and admire the passersby. I notice that many seem either immune to the winter chill or in denial about the need to wear warmer clothes! I notice that rarely is anyone walking alone. Students travel in pairs, groups and masses! I notice that some kind of technological device is apparently welded to their ears or their palms (hopefully talking or texting with you). But, I also notice how remarkably different they are, reflecting the substantial and wonderful diversity within the Duke student body.
To you who have been bought and paid for; to you whose skin has been kissed by nature’s sun and enamored in melanous glory; to you whose intellectual fortitude is matched only by the imaginativeness of your conscious and subconscious minds, how y’all doin? My name is Henry Washington, I am a member of the class of 2017, and I am this year’s Black Student Alliance President.
There is sometimes a real assumption that if you put two Black people in the same room that they will have more in common than say other kinds of people. It's almost an expectation that they will become "besties." However, this deeply flawed logic is ultimately more fictive than real in the context of the world, country, and even Duke. Black people at Duke, like all other kinds of people at Duke are as diverse and unique as the world they inhabit. Sure, racialized oppression and its many tentacles are omni-present for ALL Black people (even when and if they don't know), challenging our daily living. At the same time, culture, class, complexion, gender, geographic region, ability, circumstances, and a plethora of other variables contribute to how Africans, Afro-Brits, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Caribbeans, African-Americans, and Afro-_______'s experience Duke and the world.
Written by: Triveni Raghavan
February is Black History Month. It was created to understand the history of African-Americans from the time they were displaced from their homeland, the hardships they faced and their ongoing struggle to make this land their home. Their resilience and rebellion found expression in the form of music. In celebration of Black History Month, IHouse offered a workshop last Thursday about “Black Popular Music from Spirituals to Hip-Hop”, hosted by Lisa Giragosian, with a presentation by Alec Greenwald, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.
Weekly Jazz Wednesdays add music to study sessions and coworker meetups
Throughout this piece, Black will be referring to all descendants of the African Diaspora, a definition I first heard given by Ms. Guinn. Maybe this dispersal (both forced and voluntary) can be seen as a means to understand the almost schizophrenic fluctuations of the definition of Blackness and the subsequent complexity of my people. It is a complexity that the majority of Black folks are unaware of. We seem to forget that the different shades of brown we wear are not the only variations amongst Black people, which can be seen in the ‘light-skinned’ vs. ‘dark-skinned’ feud that has followed us from the plantation. Each individual comes to define and reflect Blackness differently based on their experiences and environment. My arrival to Duke has caused me to look at my own reflection questioningly.
“The British are coming!” “I had a dream” “That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind” “Sharkeisha! Noooooooooooooooooooooo” “Go to hell Carolina, go to hell, eat…you know the rest”
What do all these phrases have in common? They are all under 140 characters, but are memorable messages of great importance (depending on who you are). Twitter is a website and application that gives its users the agency to declare a thought, feeling, opinion, fact, picture, and so much more, so long as it fits within the limit. Twitter is great for having your voice heard amongst those that find you interesting enough to follow, but does it encourage fellowship, or hinder it?